- The following is an excerpt from Mark H. Gaffney's forthcoming
book, THE 911 MYSTERY PLANE AND THE VANISHING OF AMERICA, to be released
in September 2008.
- Regrettably, there is considerable evidence that elements
of the Bush administration were complicit in the 9/11 attack, and may
even have helped stage it. Let us now examine some of what I regard as
the most compelling evidence. However, the following discussion makes
no claim to be comprehensive.
- We know that within minutes of the "worst terrorist
attack" in US history, even before the collapse of WTC-2 at 9:59
am, US officials knew the names of several of the alleged hijackers. CBS
reported that a flight attendant on AA Flight 11, Amy Sweeney, had the
presence of mind to call her office and reveal the seat numbers of the
hijackers who had seized the plane. FBI Director Robert Mueller later
said, "This was the first piece of hard evidence." In his
memoirs CIA Director George Tenet emphasizes the importance of the passenger
manifests, as does counter- terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke. All of
which is very strange because the manifests later released by the airlines
do not include the names of any of the alleged hijackers. Nor has this
discrepancy ever been explained.
- According to MSNBC, the plan to invade Afghanistan and
"remove Al Qaeda from the face of he earth" was already sitting
on G.W. Bush's desk on the morning of 9/11 awaiting his signature.
The plan, in the form of a presidential directive, had been developed
by the CIA and according to Richard Clarke called for "arming the
Northern Alliance...to go on the offensive against the Taliban [and]
pressing the CIA to...go after bin Laden and the Al Qaeda leadership."
- A former Pakistani diplomat, Niaz Naik, tells virtually
the same story. During a BBC interview, three days after 9/11, Niak claimed
that senior American officials had informed him in mid-July 2001 that
the US would attack the Taliban "before the snows start falling in
Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest." Niak said
he received this information in Berlin at a UN-sponsored international
contact group on Afghanistan. He also predicted, correctly, that the US
attack would be launched from bases in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. But
how could US officials know in mid-July that American forces would invade
Afghanistan in October unless they had foreknowledge of the attack?
- Foreknowledge probably also explains why General Richard
Myers, the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on 9/11, announced at the
first post-9/11 meeting of Bush's National Security Council, held on
video-conference the afternoon of the attack, that "there are forty-two
major Taliban bombing targets." But how did Myers come to have
such detailed information about military targets in Afghanistan, so soon
after the 9/11 attack? This important detail belies oft-repeated claims
that the US military was not prepared to attack Afghanistan, and points
to extensive war planning before 9/11. Journalist Steve Coll arrived at
a similar conclusion while researching his 2004 book, Ghost Wars, an excellent
history of the period leading up to the 9/11 attack. Coll interviewed
two Clinton administration officials who informed him that "the Pentagon
had been studying possible targets in the same spring [i.e., 1998] that
the CIA had been drawing up its secret plan to raid Tarnack Farm,"
located near Kandahar, Afghanistan, where bin Laden had taken up quarters
at the invitation of Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
- According to Clarke, at the same meeting on the afternoon
of 9/11, CIA Director George Tenet informed the president that "Al
Qaeda had committed these atrocities." But, again, how did Tenet
know this so soon after the attack, especially given that "security
failures" had occurred, unless he had foreknowledge?
- No Hard Evidence
- On September 20, 2001, the Bush administration officially
declared that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attack. Three
days later, Secretary of State Colin Powell announced on Meet the Press
that the government would soon release "a white paper" detailing
the evidence against bin Laden. Later the same day, Bush faced questions
from the press about Powell's remark and backed away from releasing any
additional information. Bush explained that the government had a lot of
evidence but that most of it was classified and could not be made public.
Bush emphasized, however, that the evidence "leads to one person,
as well as one global terrorist organization." National Security
Adviser Condoleezza Rice made a similar statement during an interview
on FOX News. Said Rice: "We have very good evidence of links between
Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda operatives, and what happened on September
11." Rice refused to release any particulars, however, and, like
Bush, claimed that the evidence was "classified."
- As we know, the US government never got around to releasing
the promised white paper. Why not? Was it because the evidence against
bin Laden was too weak to hold up in court? Such was the view of journalist
Seymour Hersh, who cited CIA and Justice Department sources to this effect
in his regular column in the New Yorker magazine.
- Foreign intelligence agencies were also busily investigating
the case, but fared no better. For instance, Germany's Chief Federal
Prosecutor, Kay Nehm, admitted that there was no hard evidence linking
bin Laden with the crime. The lack of evidence prompted former German
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt to speak out against President Bush's decision
to invoke Article V of the NATO Treaty, mobilizing NATO's involvement
in the war on terrorism. In Schmidt's own words: "Proof had to be
delivered that the September 11 terror attack came from abroad. [Yet,]
that proof still has not been provided."
- Osama did not cooperate by acknowledging his role in
the attack; on the contrary. In a statement on September 16, 2001 carried
by Al- Jazeera, bin Laden categorically denied any involvement. Days later,
he repeated this denial during an interview with the Pakistani newspaper
Ummaut. On November 3, 2001 Al-Jazeera released a third statement,
in which bin Laden not only denied involvement but also accused the Bush
administration of waging a "crusader war" against the Muslim
world. To the best of my knowledge, none of these denials were reported
in the US media. Why not?
- On October 1, 2001 British Prime Minister Tony Blair
told the House of Commons that the case against bin Laden was proved beyond
a shadow of doubt. Said Blair: "I have seen absolutely powerful and
incontrovertible evidence of his [Osama Bin Laden's] link to the events
of the 11th of September." Several days later (on October 4),
Blair's government went public with the evidence to which Blair had alluded:
a "Bin Laden Dossier." But the evidence turned out to be
short of "incontrovertible," and in fact was shockingly thin.
The Independent described it as "little more than conjecture,"
and an editorial in the Guardian concluded that the dossier was "almost
worthless from a legal point of view." The (London) Times agreed,
observing that "There is no evidence presented [in the dossier] that
directly links bin Laden to September 11."
- The Bin Laden Video
- and the personification of evil
- Confronted with US demands to hand over bin Laden unconditionally,
the Taliban was initially defiant, and refused. However, in early October
2001 two Pakistani Islamic parties persuaded the Taliban leadership to
extradite bin Laden to Peshawar, Pakistan, where he would be held under
house arrest and tried by an international tribunal. The deal even
included the extradition of bin Laden to the US in the event of a conviction.
However, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf vetoed the arrangement,
no doubt, under heavy pressure from the Bush administration. But why would
the US turn down an opportunity to bring the arch villain of 9/11 to
justice for the crime of the century? Was it because, as I have already
suggested, the US had insufficient evidence to convict and faced the embarrassing
likelihood of an acquittal?
- In fact, the only evidence the US government released
linking bin Laden to 9/11 was a video-tape which supposedly turned up
by chance in Afghanistan. According to the State Department, US military
forces found the hour-long video in Jalalabad on December 9, 2001, shortly
after the US invasion. It purportedly shows bin Laden and several
of his al Qaeda comrades ghoulishly celebrating their successful attack
upon America. The US government released the tape on December 13, 2001
along with an English translation and a Department of Defense (DoD) press
release. The latter included the following statement by Rumsfeld: "There
was no doubt of bin Laden's responsibility for the September 11 attacks
before the tape was discovered." The US media made much of this
confessional tape, as did political luminaries like New York City Mayor
(and presidential hopeful) Rudy Giuliani, who told CNN that the tape
confirmed that the US military campaign against bin Laden was "more
than justified." Giuliani added: "Obviously, this man [i.e.,
bin Laden] is the personification of evil. He seems delighted at having
killed more people than he anticipated, which leaves you wondering just
how deep his evil heart and soul really is."
- In the video bin Laden brags about al Qaeda's role in
staging the attack. But is the footage bona fide? Anyone who has seen
the film knows that the main character bears only the most superficial
resemblance to bin Laden, judging from well-known photos. In addition,
there are major discrepancies. For example, the video shows bin Laden
writing with his right hand when according to the FBI he is a southpaw.
- Two independent translators and a third expert on oriental
studies also took issue with the English translation of the Arabic released
by the DoD. During the program "Monitor," which aired on the
German TV channel "Das Erste," the three experts stated that
"at the most important places where it [i.e, the video] is held to
prove the guilt of bin Laden, it [i.e., the translation] is not identical
with the Arabic." The experts also disputed the US claim that
the tape proved foreknowledge. Gernot Rotter, professor of Islamic and
Arabic Studies at the University of Hamburg, stated that "The American
translators who listened to the tapes and transcribed them apparently
wrote a lot of things in that they wanted to hear but that cannot be heard
on the tape no matter how many times you listen to it." While this
does not necessarily exonerate bin Laden, it does raise questions. If,
as Bush claimed, the US had solid evidence of bin Laden's guilt, then
why make false claims?
- Evidently, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
agrees with the skeptics. The FBI's on-line web listing of "Most
Wanted Terrorists" includes a page devoted to Osama bin Laden. According
to this official post, which may be viewed by anyone with access to cyberspace,
bin Laden is wanted by the FBI for the August 1998 attacks upon US Embassies
in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed over 200
people. However, the page makes no reference to the events of September
11, 2001. Nor is there any mention of the video discussed above. In June
2006, when blogger Ed Haas learned about this, he was understandably puzzled
and contacted FBI headquarters by phone seeking an explanation. Haas
talked with Rex Tomb, the FBI's Chief of Investigative Publicity, who
informed him that "The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama
bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting
bin Laden to 9/11." Haas was dumbfounded, and said: "But
how is this possible?" Tomb replied that "bin Laden has not
been formally charged in connection with 9/11." He then explained
- "The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered,
it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice
then decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand
jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, bin
Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not
been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the
FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11." [my emphasis]
- This admission by the FBI is astonishing and raises fundamental
questions about the war on terrorism, as well as the role of the US media.
Was Osama bin Laden convicted for the cold-blooded murder of nearly 3,000
innocent Americans in the US court of public opinion by means of a media
circus? Did the US government and the corporate media collude to deceive
the American people? If so, then a colossal miscarriage of justice has
- Consider also the strange statement made by President
Bush at a press conference on March 13, 2002. When asked about the progress
being made to catch bin Laden, Bush replied that "we haven't heard
much from him. [i.e., bin Laden] And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at
the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he
is. I, I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
 [my emphasis] But why this almost lackadaisical attitude about the
arch-villain whom Bush had promised to track down to the ends of the earth?
What had become of the president's laser-like determination? Bush explained
that bin Laden had ceased to be a terrorist threat due to the US occupation
of Afghanistan. Yet, by at least one account, the US forces at Tora Bora
displayed almost unbelievable incompetence during the pursuit of bin Laden,
as a result of which the accused and most of his entourage escaped.
Was this the plan, all along?
- A no less strange remark made a few weeks later (April
6, 2002) by General Richard Myers, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs,
suggests that bin Laden's getaway had been approved at the highest level.
Myers told CNN that "the goal has never been to get bin Laden."
I personally found his statement incomprehensible, since at the time Osama
was public enemy number one. Did the US allow bin Laden to escape because
the Bush administration judged he was more valuable at-large? We can't
be certain, because by this time there were also numerous reports that
bin Laden was dead.
- Did President Bush know when he made the above statement
that bin Laden was already deceased? This would explain Bush's casual
demeanor. Yet, either way, from the standpoint of propaganda it hardly
mattered whether bin Laden was dead or alive. His larger- than-life reputation
could be sustained simply by neglecting to confirm his death, and the
legend is what counted. His persona could also be "spun" in
various ways and made to serve political expedience. Indeed, by this logic
bin Laden was even more valuable dead because a living breathing bin Laden
might at some point be apprehended, in which case the Bush administration
faced the unwelcome prospect of a very public trial at which the terrorist
would have an opportunity to tell his side of the story to a listening
world. And this, of course, had to be avoided.
- If we can believe the 9/11 Commission Report, the case
against bin Laden was greatly bolstered by the capture and subsequent
confession in 2003 of the alleged 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
(KSM). The problem, of course, is that the official story about the plot
against America is wholly based on secret CIA interrogations that have
never been independently confirmed, and must therefor be viewed as suspect.
But even if we accept the testimony of KSM in 2003, this does not explain
the rush to war in 2001. Nor does it explain President Bush's decision
to go to war against Saddam Hussein, a decision reportedly made in July
- Previous cases of terrorism had already demonstrated
the wisdom of proceeding with caution, since knee-jerk responses can (and
do) misfire. For example, after the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal
Building in Oklahoma City, US investigators at first suspected a Mideast
connection. But this was proved false, and similar errors were made after
the 1988 downing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Although initial evidence pointed to Syria or Iran, a thorough forensic
investigation ruled these out and eventually implicated Libya. The 9/11
Commission Report itself describes the latter case as "a cautionary
tale about rushing to judgement in attributing responsibility for a terrorist
act." So, why the rush to war after the September 11 attack?
If the Bush administration had conclusive evidence that al Qaeda was
responsible, why not release it? Was the Bush White House tight- lipped
because the actual evidence would have exposed the complicity of the US
military and intelligence community? A stunning story that broke in the
US press in 2005 points to such a conclusion.
- Able Danger
- As it happened, a legitimate US military counter-terrorist
operation known as Able Danger was tracking Mohamed Atta and his cohorts
as early as January-February 2000. The operation, based at Ft. Belvoir,
Virginia, was small but extremely high-tech, as it employed advanced computers
to sweep the internet, a methodology known as as data-mining. In May 2000,
however, when Able Danger's success became known throughout the Defense
Department, the officers who ran it were ordered to shut it down and destroy
their data. One officer reportedly was threatened with prison if he
refused. Later, the Pentagon attempted to block Senate Judiciary Committee
hearings on Able Danger, and in 2005, when this failed, the Pentagon refused
Able Danger staffers permission to testify before the committee.
- One intelligence officer who later testified anyway,
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, was targeted for harassment. The question is
why? Of course, the standard explanation is that the military bureaucracy
made gross blunders and later sought to cover up their incompetence. But
there is another possibility. Was Able Danger shut down because this honest
operation threatened to unmask the covert planning for the September 11
- What is clear is that the Pentagon's self-serving attempts
to gag and discredit Lt. Col. Shaffer are not to be believed. In February
2006 Shaffer told the House Armed Services Committee that during the
summer of 2000 he and other officers involved in Able Danger attempted
on three separate occasions to warn the FBI about the terrorist threat
posed by Mohamed Atta. But the meetings never happened. Each time they
were canceled at the last minute by high- level Pentagon attorneys.
Nor has the Pentagon ever provided a satisfactory explanation as to why.
- Some time after the dissolution of Able Danger Shaffer
was reassigned to Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan, where in October 2003
he succeeded in bringing the existence of Able Danger to the attention
of the 9/11 Commission. This apparently happened due to a chance encounter
with Philip Zelikow, Executive Director of the commission, and several
commission staffers who were then on tour, gathering firsthand information
about the US war on terrorism. Lt. Col. Shaffer told the House committee
that after he briefed the commission staff about Able Danger's success
in identifying Mohamed Atta and other alleged 9/11 hijackers, Zelikow
came up, handed him his card, and asked him to "please contact me
upon your return to the states so we can continue this dialogue."
However, three months later when Shaffer did just that he was surprised
to discover that Zelikow was no longer interested in Able Danger. But
why wouldn't he be?
- Then, all hell broke loose when Shaffer dutifully informed
his commanding officer about the contact. From that point on Lt. Col.
Shaffer was subjected to the sort of military hazing that is usually
reserved for green recruits. His security clearance was cancelled. He
lost access to his office computer and all of his classified materials
about Able Danger, which, he later learned, were destroyed. Subsequently,
the Pentagon dismissed his testimony, claiming it was unsupported by hard
evidence, an obvious example of Catch-22. Shaffer also learned that he
was under investigation, although no formal charges were ever filed against
him. He was told "off the record" that he had "pissed off"
one or more high-ranking officers. Several of Shaffer's colleagues from
Able Danger corroborated his story, but it didn't matter. His military
career was over, destroyed. Shaffer's testimony before Congress is
riveting and is essential reading for anyone interested in 9/11 truth.
- In their 2006 book Without Precedent, Thomas Kean and
Lee Hamilton, co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, deny that Able Danger
had ever identified Mohamed Atta before 9/11. But their assertion,
much belated, is just not credible. Their own final report on 9/11 makes
no mention of Able Danger. It is abundantly clear that even though Lt.
Col. Shaffer notified the panel about this important counter- terrorism
operation the commissioners made no attempt to investigate it, and since
Kean and Hamilton failed to do so how can they now credibly claim to know?
Obviously, their denial is based on information they received, much later,
from the Pentagon.
- Kean and Hamilton write that their staff "received
all of the Department of Defense documents on Able Danger and had found
no mention of Atta." But their claim is not persuasive, since
we know that 2.5 terabytes of intelligence data about Able Danger had
already been destroyed (in 2000), not to mention the information on Shaffer's
hard drive (in 2004). The question for the co-chairs is simple: What assurance
could they possibly have that the documents they received from the DoD
about Able Danger tell the full story? Obviously, they do not. More to
the point, why would Kean and Hamilton believe the Pentagon over the testimony
of Lt. Col. Shaffer? By this time the co-chairs already had good reason
to suspect that the Pentagon, not Shaffer, had deceived them in the hearings.
- Eavesdropping on bin Laden
- The fact that Able Danger was shut down in May 2000,
long before Bush entered office, raises disturbing questions. Was covert
planning for 9/11 already underway during the Clinton administration?
It is curious that in 2002 CIA Director George Tenet told a closed session
of a joint House-Senate panel investigating the 9/11 "security failure"
that al Qaeda's planning of the September 11, 2001 attack started as early
as 1998.  But how could Tenet know this unless the CIA had been tracking
bin Laden, all along? As a matter of fact, we know they were! According
to several UPI reports, the National Security Administration (NSA) acknowledged
in February 2001 that the use of advanced Echelon software enabled the
US intelligence community to eavesdrop on thousands of bin Laden's cell
phone calls over a period of years. US officials disclosed that even after
bin Laden began to encrypt certain calls in 1995, his "codes were
- The date 1998 is doubly curious. That same year Tenet
informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA's strategy to
defeat al Qaeda included the recruiting of al Qaeda operatives. In
his memoirs Tenet goes even further with an assertion that is remarkable
for its candor. He writes: "the [9/11] commission failed to recognize
the sustained comprehensive efforts conducted by the intelligence community
prior to 9/11 to penetrate the al Qaeda organization." I had
to re-read this passage several times just to believe my own eyes. Did
the CIA recruit terrorists who were then used as patsies on 9/11?
- Bush officials, of course, have steadfastly denied that
the US successfully penetrated al Qaeda before 9/11. But their denials
are less than persuasive in light of Lt. Col. Shaffer's testimony about
Able Danger, and also because there is no doubt: we know that the monitoring
of phone calls continued. After al Qaeda bombed two US embassies in East
Africa in August 1998, FBI investigators got lucky and stumbled upon an
al Qaeda communications hub in Yemen. According to writer Lawrence Wright,
this proved to be "one of the most important pieces of evidence the
FBI would ever discover, allowing investigators to map the links of the
al Qaeda network all across the globe." The hub was a private
telephone, anything but high tech. The switchboard operator turned out
to be the brother-in-law of Khalid al-Midhar, one of the nineteen alleged
hijackers. His job in Yemen was simply to relay messages to-and- from
various al Qaeda operatives, including bin Laden.
- From phone records US investigators confirmed a flurry
of calls through the hub before the embassy bombings, and this pattern
was repeated before the attack on the USS Cole in October 2000. Indeed,
it is unclear why US intelligence agencies failed to prevent the attack
on the Cole because, by this time, they were listening. The al Qaeda hub
was allowed to operate right up until September 11, 2001, and even after.
Incredibly, US and Yemeni authorities did not finally move in and close
it down until 2002.
- Based on this evidence, gleaned from open sources in
the US media, we must conclude that the US intelligence community was
tracking al Qaeda's nearly every move before 9/11, and had been for years,
probably including the entry of the alleged hijackers into the US, their
"flight training" and subsequent movements. The phone intercepts
- In June 2002 both the Miami Herald and the Dallas Star-Telegram
reported that in the summer of 2001 the NSA even monitored phone conversations
between alleged 9/11 lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and alleged 9/11 mastermind
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM). The papers reported that the NSA "did
not recognize the significance of what they had." Evidently, we are
supposed to believe that the NSA did not pass along this important intelligence
to the CIA. But this is absurd. After all, the NSA is a part of the US
Department of Defense and exists for the purpose of providing intelligence
to the CIA and the US military. The story in the Miami Herald even acknowledges
this, citing an NSA official who stated under condition of anonymity that
it was "simply not true" that the NSA failed to share the information
with other intelligence agencies. Of course they shared it. Incidentally,
a google search failed to locate the full text of either of these articles,
which apparently have long since been scrubbed from the internet. To
the best of my knowledge they survive in cyberspace only as thumbnails.
- What are we to make of all of this? Did elements of the
US intelligence community know about al Qaeda's multiple hijacking operation,
all along? Did they, then, covertly piggy-back their own planning on
top of it, thereby insuring the attack's "success" while also
manipulating it for their own ignoble ends? If true, this would easily
explain why the Pentagon shut down Able Danger in May 2000. It would explain
the Pentagon's gag order imposed upon the Able Danger staffers, which
blunted a Congressional inquiry. It would also explain the carefully
orchestrated smear campaign aimed at Lt Col. Shaffer, who did his patriotic
duty and was made to pay a terrible price. It would explain why the DoD
fed phony or incomplete information about Able Danger to co-chairs Kean
and Hamilton, and other members of the commission, to persuade them that
the data-mining effort was "insignificant." It would also explain
why, time and again, during the period before 9/11, the CIA withheld critical
information from the FBI, information, which, had it become known, would
have enabled the FBI to foil the 9/11 attack. The FBI was always just
one or two critical pieces of information short of putting together the
plot. Nor has the CIA disconnect ever been adequately explained. The
standard excuses, bureaucratic bungling and interagency rivalry, are simply
- This interpretation would also explain why George Tenet
lied during the 9/11 Commission hearings when he denied his meetings with
President Bush in August 2001. Indeed, it might even explain why President-elect
G.W. Bush retained Tenet, a Clinton appointee, as his CIA chief. The move
was one of Bush's first decisions as president and was most unusual, especially
given the neocons' scarcely concealed scorn for the Clinton administration.
However, it makes perfect sense, assuming that when Bush took office
elements of the CIA and US military were already deeply involved in the
covert planning for the 9/11 attack. Continuity at the CIA would have
been essential. As far as I know, writer Ian Henshall was the first to
make this connection. And let us not forget: during the period before
9/11 the CIA Director visited the White House on a daily basis. Tenet
personally briefed Bush on intelligence issues, an unusual chore for a
CIA Director. But, again, this becomes understandable, assuming that
a major covert operation was in the works, one that entailed extreme
compartmentalization. Only a very few individuals at the top would have
been fully briefed.
- bin Laden in Dubai?
- A no less shocking story that appeared in the prestigious
French paper Le Figaro on October 11, 2001 points to the same conclusion.
The story claimed that bin Laden was actually under the protection of
US security agencies prior to the 9/11 attack. According to Le Figaro,
bin Laden checked in to the American Hospital in Dubai on July 4, 2001,
just two months before 9/11, where he received medical treatment over
a ten-day period for a serious kidney
- Dubai is one of the Arab Emirates located in the Persian
Gulf. The story cannot be based on just rumor or hearsay because it includes
many details: Bin Laden was reportedly accompanied by his personal physician,
a nurse, four body guards, and at least one of his lieutenants. It also
states that the local CIA station chief, evidently a well known figure
in the tiny country, was seen entering bin Laden's hospital suite during
his stay, and immediately after the meeting caught a flight back to the
US. If the story is accurate, bin Laden held court from his hospital room,
welcoming various members of his extended family, as well as prominent
Saudis and Emiratis. It is no secret that bin Laden suffered from kidney
disease. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had informed the Clinton
administration about bin Laden's deteriorating health as early as 1998,
during a state visit to Washington.
- A follow-up report in the Guardian (UK) on November 1,
2001 confirmed the above story and added further details, noting that
bin Laden's Saudi guests included Prince Turki al Faisal, who was then
head of Saudi intelligence. The article in the Guardian names French intelligence
as the source of the story in Le Figaro. It also claims the information
was leaked because the French were "keen to reveal the ambiguous
role of the CIA and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq
and elsewhere." Given that bin Laden was already wanted at the time
for the US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, why did the
US not arrange to have local authorities snatch the terrorist in Dubai,
in order to bring him to justice? Of course, it goes without saying that
bin Laden would never have visited the US hospital in the first place
had he not been confident of his protected status. Do we dare to connect
these dots? Surely the story in Le Figaro suggests that elements of the
US intelligence establishment knew about the coming 9/11 attack and allowed
bin Laden to remain free to play his assigned role. As shocking as this
sounds, if the story is correct there is no other plausible explanation.
- Such a conclusion is further supported by powerful evidence
that first came to light on November 6, 2001, when the BBC program Newsnight
produced FBI documents on British television proving that soon after G.W.
Bush entered office the White House ordered the FBI to "back off"
from ongoing investigations of Osama bin Laden and other members of his
family, some of whom were living in the US at the time. To the best
of my knowledge, none of these stories from European and UK press were
ever reported in the US media. Again, why not?
- Were elements of the US government and intelligence community
complicit in the events of September 11, 2001? Did they allow the attack
to happen, or even help to stage it, in order to generate the pretext
for a much more aggressive US foreign policy which the American people
would not otherwise support? Either way, the implications are shocking,
indeed, so shocking that many of our fellow countrymen (and women) cannot
bring themselves to think such thoughts. Yet, it is a matter of record
that the neoconservatives openly advocated an imperial shift in US foreign
policy before the November 2000 election. Moreover, Clinton was already
moving in this direction.
- These are grave questions for our nation and we must
not fail to address them. If there is any truth in them we face a Constitutional
crisis unlike anything in our history.
- Mark's forthcoming book, THE 9/11 MYSTERY PLANE will
feature, among other disclosures, the first published discussion and analysis
of the NORAD/FAA radar data from 9/11, released last October thanks to
a FOIA request. Mark's book can be pre-ordered at amazon.com:
- 1 According to another account the stewardess was Betty
Ong. Lynn Spencer, Touching History: The Untold Story of the Drama that
Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11, Free Press, New York, 2008,
- 2 "The President's Story," CBS News, September
- 3 George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm, My Years
at the CIA, HarperCollins, New York, 2007, pp.xix and 167; Richard A.
Clarke, Against All Enemies, Free Press, New York, 2004. pp. 13-14.
- 4 Jim Miklaszewski and Alex Johnson, "US planned
for attack on al- qaida," MSNBC and NBC, May 16, 2002,
- 5 Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies, Free Press,
New York, 2004, p. 26. Evidently the name of the plan was "Blue Sky."
George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm, My Years at the CIA, HarperCollins,
New York, 2007, pp. 171 and 130-131.
- 6 The three US officials were Tom Simmons, a former
US Ambassador to Pakistan, Karl Inderfurth, former Assistant Secretary
of State for Asian Affairs, and Lee Coldren, a former State Department
expert on south Asia. George Arney, "US 'planned attack on Taliban',"
BBC news, September 18, 2001.
- 7 At the Center of the Storm, My Years at the CIA, HarperCollins,
New York, 2007, pp.. 23.
- 8 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA,
Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10,
2001, Penguin Press, New York, 2004, p. 409, also see note 21, p. 628.
- 9 Ibid.
- 10 "White House Wavers on Publicizing bin Laden
Case," UPI, September 24, 2001.
- 11 Transcript: President Freezes Terrorists' Assets:
Remarks by the President, Secretary of the Treasury O'Neill and Secretary
of State Powell on Executive Order, The Rose Garden, September 24, 2001,
posted at http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/ 2001/09/20010924-4.html
- 12 News Sunday, FOX News, September 23, 2001.
- 13 Seymour Hersh, "What Went Wrong: The C.I.A. and
the failure of American intelligence, New Yorker, October 1, 2001
- 14 The Guardian, September 17, 2001, p. 11; also see
The (London) Times, September 28, 2001, p. 5.
- 15 Schmidt reportedly made the statement on German television
on December 10, 2001. See the Webster Tarpley segment in the video by
Barrie Zwicker, "The Great Conspiracy: The 9/11 News Special You
Never Saw," 2004.
- 16 Ummaut, September 22, 2001. The pertinent text reads,
as follows: "I was not involved in the September 11 attacks in the
United States nor did I have knowledge of the attacks. There exists a
government within a government within the United States. The United States
should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; to
the people who want to make the present century a century of conflict
between Islam and Christianity. That secret government must be asked as
to who carried out the attacks....The American system is totally in the
control of the Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States
... I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States.
We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United
States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom."
- 17 The (London) Daily Telegraph, October 1, 2001.
- 18 The full transcript may be viewed at http:// paulboutin.weblogger.com/2001/10/05
- 19 The Independent (UK), October 7, 2001, p. 7.
- 20 The Guardian, October 5, 2001, p. 23
- 21 The (London) Times, October 5, 2001, p. 8.
- 22 The (London) Daily Telegraph, October 4, 2001, p.
9; also see Milan Rai, "Afghanistan: The Unnecessary War," Znet,
October 13, 2004.
- 23 The full video is posted at http://paulboutin.weblogger.com/
- 24 As of this writing the press release is still posted
and may be viewed at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?
- 25 "Bin Laden on tape: Attacks 'benefited Islam
greatly'," CNN, December 14, 2001, posted at http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/
- 26 http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/terbinladen.htm
- 27 Georg Restle, Ekkehard Sieker, "Bin-Laden-Video:
Falschübersetzung als Beweismittel?", MONITOR Nr. 485 am, December
20, 2001. posted at http://web.archive.org/web/ 20021218105636/www.wdr.de/tv/monitor/beitraege.phtml?id=379
- 28 The page is posted at http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/terrorists/
- 29 "FBI says, "No hard evidence connecting
Bin Laden to 9/11," Muckraker Report, June 6, 2006, posted at http://
- 30 Ibid.
- 31 President Bush Holds Press Conference, The James S.
Brady Briefing Room, March 13, 2002. Posted at http://www.whitehouse.gov/
- 32 John F. Burns,"10-Month Afghan Mystery: Is bin
Laden Dead or Alive?," New York Times, September 30, 2002.
- 33 Evans, Novak, Hunt and Shields, "Interview with
General Richard Myers," CNN, April 6, 2002.
- 34 Giles Tremlett (in Madrid), "Al-Qaeda leaders
say nuclear power stations were original targets," The Guardian,
September 9, 2002; also see "Report: Bin Laden Already Dead,"
FOX News, December 26, 2001; "Israeli Intelligence: Bin Laden is
dead, heir has been chosen," Special to World Tribune.com, October
16, 2002; "Musharraf: bin Laden likely dead," CNN, January 19,
- 35 George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm, My Years
at the CIA, HarperCollins, New York, 2007, p. 309.
- 36 The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National
Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Norton &
Co., New York, 2004, pp. 75-76.
- 37 Army Major Eric Kleinsmith destroyed 2.5 terabytes
of intelligence data about al Qaeda in May and June 2000, at the order
of Tony Gentry, general counsel of the Army Intelligence and Security
Command. This is an enormous amount of data. To get an idea just how large
the number is, wrap your mind around this: It is the equivalent of 25%
of the Library of Congress. Patience Wait, "Data-mining offensive
in the works," Government Computer News, October 10, 2005, posted
at http://www.gcn.com/print/ 24_30/37242-1.html?topic=news
- 38 Philip Shenon, "Pentagon Blocks Testimony at
Senate Hearings n Terrorism," New York Times, September 20, 2005;
also see Philip Shenon, "Second Officer Says 9/11 Leader was Named
Before Attacks," New York Times, August 23, 2005.
- 39 Prepared statement of Anthony A. Shaffer, Lt Col.,
US Army Reserve, Senior Intelligence Officer, before the House Armed
Services Committee, Wednesday February 15, 2006, full transcript posted
- 40 The official explanations are so ridiculous they do
not even deserve comment.
- 41 Ibid.
- 42 Will Dunham, "Three more assert Pentagon knew
of 9/11 ringleader," Reuters, September 1, 2005; "Navy Captain
Backs Able Danger Claims," FOX News, August 23, 2005; also see Thom
Shanker, "Terrorist Known Before 9/11, More Say." New York
Times, September 2, 2005.
- 43 Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, Without Precedent:
The Inside Story of the 9/1 Commission, Alfred A, Knopf, New York, 2006,
- 44 Ibid.
- 45 Dan Eggen, "9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by
Pentagon," The Washington Post, August 2, 2006.
- 46 John Diamond and Kathy Kiely, "Officials: Sept.
11 attacks were planned since 1998," USA Today, June 18, 2002.
- 47 Richard Sale, "NSA Listens to bin Laden,"
UPI, February 13, 2001; also see John C.K. Daly, "Analysis: US Combs
Airwaves for bin Laden," UPI, February 21, 2001; also see "US
Makes Cyberwar on bin Laden," UPI, February 9, 2001.
- 48 See the final report of the Joint Inquiry Committee,
Appendix, p. 21, cited in Coll, Ghost Wars, p. 413., also see note 30,
- 49 George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm, HarperCollins,
New York, 2007, p.121.
- 50 Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the
Road to 9/11, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006, pp.277-278.
- 51 By Lisa Myers, "Hindsight and the attacks on
America," NBC News, July 21, 2004, posted at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5479799/
- 52 David Enser, Chris Plante and Peter Bergen, "USS
Cole plot began after embassy attacks, investigator says, CNN News, December
20, 2002, posted at http://archives.cnn.com/2000/US/12/20/ terrorism.threat.02/
- 53 "US links Yemen clan to Sept. 11 and East Africa
attacks," MSNBC, February 14, 2002. archived at http://www.bouwman.com/911/
- 54 Dallas Star-Telegram, June 7, 2002; also see Miami
Herald, June 6, 2002.
- 55 Miami Herald, June 6, 2002.
- 56 For an excellent discussion of the many cases where
the CIA withheld information, see Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower:
Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2006. See chapters
- 57 Ian Henshall, 9/11 Revealed: The New Evidence, Carroll
and Graf, New York, 2007, p.64.
- 58 Tenet mentions this in his memoirs. At the Center
of the Storm, p. 137.
- 59 Alexandra Richard, "The CIA met bin Laden while
undergoing treatment at an American Hospital last July in Dubai, Le Figaro,
October 11, 2001. (translated by Tiphaine Dickson)
- 60 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the
CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September
10, 2001, Penguin Press, New York, 2004, p. 442, also see note 14, p.
- 61 Greg Palast and David Pallister, "FBI claims
Bin aden Inquiry was frustrated: Officials told to 'back off' on Saudis
before September 11," Guardian (UK), November 7, 2001.
- 62 The neocon strategy for global US empire was outlined
in a 2000 briefing paper, "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy,
Forces and Resources For a New Century." It may still be viewed at
the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) web site: http:// www.newamericancentury.org/publicationsreports.htm